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[mak-roh] /ˈmæk roʊ/
very large in scale, scope, or capability.
of or relating to macroeconomics.
noun, plural macros.
anything very large in scale, scope, or capability.
Photography. a macro lens.
Also called macroinstruction. Computers. an instruction that represents a sequence of instructions in abbreviated form.
Origin of macro
independent use of macro-, taken as an adjective, or by shortening of words with macro- as initial element


a combining form meaning “large,” “long,” “great,” “excessive,” used in the formation of compound words, contrasting with micro-: macrocosm; macrofossil; macrograph; macroscopic.
Also, especially before a vowel, macr-.
< Greek makro-, combining form of makrós long; cognate with Latin macer lean; see meager
Can be confused
macro-, micro-. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for macro


noun (pl) macros
a macro lens
Also macro instruction. a single computer instruction that initiates a set of instructions to perform a specific task


combining form
large, long, or great in size or duration: macroscopic
(in pathology) indicating abnormal enlargement or overdevelopment: macrocyte Compare micro- (sense 5)
producing larger than life images: macrophotography
Word Origin
from Greek makros large; compare Latin macermeagre
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for macro

1959 in computing sense, shortened from macro-instruction.


word-forming element meaning "long, abnormally large, on a large scale," taken into English via Middle French and Medieval Latin from Greek makros "long, large," from PIE root *mak- "long, thin" (cf. Latin macer "lean, thin;" Old Norse magr, Old English mæger "lean, thin;" Greek mekos "length").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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macro in Medicine

macro- or macr-

  1. Large: macronucleus.

  2. Long: macrobiotic.

  3. Inclusive: macroamylase.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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macro in Science
A prefix meaning "large," as in macromolecule, a large molecule.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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macro in Technology

1. Assembly language for VAX/VMS.
2. PL/I-like language with extensions for string processing. "MACRO: A Programming Language", S.R. Greenwood, SIGPLAN Notices 14(9):80-91 (Sep 1979).
[Jargon File]

A name (possibly followed by a formal argument list) that is equated to a text or symbolic expression to which it is to be expanded (possibly with the substitution of actual arguments) by a macro expander.
The term "macro" originated in early assemblers, which encouraged the use of macros as a structuring and information-hiding device. During the early 1970s, macro assemblers became ubiquitous, and sometimes quite as powerful and expensive as HLLs, only to fall from favour as improving compiler technology marginalised assembly language programming (see languages of choice). Nowadays the term is most often used in connection with the C preprocessor, Lisp, or one of several special-purpose languages built around a macro-expansion facility (such as TeX or Unix's troff suite).
Indeed, the meaning has drifted enough that the collective "macros" is now sometimes used for code in any special-purpose application control language (whether or not the language is actually translated by text expansion), and for macro-like entities such as the "keyboard macros" supported in some text editors (and PC TSRs or Macintosh INIT/CDEV keyboard enhancers).
The Free On-line Dictionary of Computing, © Denis Howe 2010
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Related Abbreviations for macro


The American Heritage® Abbreviations Dictionary, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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